Mountain by Osman Naeem

Cliffhanger Murphy had overcome all of life’s trivialities as a young boy. His father always told him there was nothing more fulfilling than reaching one’s peak. And so he sought out to conquer mountains, it was a purpose he gave to the rest of his life. The youngling used to climb into class through the window by the time he was fifteen. By sixteen, he descended into Church every Sunday through the bell tower. By seventeen, he harnessed a spiteful apathy toward stairs and elevators threatening to abolish them as the status quo.

On the third Wednesday of freshman year, he took the pedestal at the weekly assembly and became a self-proclaimed ‘natural’. The rest of his monologue was a rendition of Mel Gibson’s lines from Braveheart. If one paid attention, the way he twisted his suave mustache was irresistible, which is partly why he had to deal with an avalanche of ex girlfriends before graduation. Murphy would often say the only reason he went to college was to raise money to travel to the pointiest mountain on the face of the Earth. He thought sitting on the peak would make him capable of Nirvana.

Finally at twenty-something years old, he worked overtime, 27 hours a day, for thirteen years before he’d saved up enough money for his enlightening voyage. Adult Murphy chose to travel by sea as he would get to see the Galapagos Islands; he was inspired by Darwin to think of stairs and elevators as useless. He rode a bicycle parallel to the Great Wall for two years after he set foot on Chinese soil.

As he reached the icy borders of Tibet, he chose to rest for a day. He rose during dawn to the warm scent of Jasmine tea. The sacred day was finally here, and he was ready and dressed to trek across the tallest pointiest mountains on the planet.

Murphy was at the base of the Himalayan belt when he looked at his reflection in the goggles he was about to wear. His graying mustache hinted he had grown old, but he chose to believe it was just the snow which was carried by the wind. So he climbed for what would be the best two years of his life. The sights were so captivating that he mused in a journal every night; he longed to pass these insights to the heirs of his legacy.

At 8,000 meters above sea level, Murphy trembled but took an oath to fulfill the purpose he had imposed on himself. Icicles formed at the brims of his nostrils. At such an altitude, it was cold enough to preserve strains of bacteria and even a heart or two, the old man said to himself as he carried his father’s teachings along with him closer to the peak.

Who would have thought a hot gust would fill his lungs when he’d reach the peak. Here he was, surrounded by another hundred million Cliffhanger Murphy’s, who stood frozen just as he did. They all could hear each other think,
“What did father really mean?”

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